President Michael Drake Tells Story About Archie Griffin During Commencement Speech

By Jake Anderson on May 3, 2020 at 2:45 pm
President Michael Drake in today's virtual commencement.
Ohio State's Virtual Commencement

With the conclusion of the weirdest spring semester in recent memory, Ohio State celebrated its graduates in a virtual commencement ceremony earlier today. The university graduated nearly 13,000 students, making it the largest class in Ohio State's history. 

During the ceremony, President Michael Drake mentioned a number of previous commencement speakers he has heard as a member of the Ohio State community, one of which was Archie Griffin. Drake reiterated the story Archie Griffin told graduates during his commencement speech in 2015 in which detailed his first career carry and subsequent.

"Here he was, a freshman, in the first game of the year, he was able to get on the field. He got into the huddle and, more improbably, the first play that was called was to give the ball to him." Drake said. "The ball was handed and, immediately, he fumbled and was yanked from the game and sat on the bench. In a moment, he went from the most exciting moment in his life to the most embarrassing."

As a running back in the Woody Hayes era, Griffin broke the golden rule: don't fumble the ball. He did not think he was going to play the rest of the year as he was behind a number of upperclassmen but began preparing for the possibility of playing next year. 

"The next game, early in the game, ... he shockingly heard his name called... He ran into the huddle and, again, shockingly, the play was called to hand him the ball." Drake continued. "When he finally left the field in that game, in the fourth quarter, he had set the university running record, all time, for a game."

Griffin ended the contest against North Carolina with 27 carries for 239 rushing yards. His record stood for a year until he broke it again with 246 yards against Iowa, the same program he fumbled against in the first game of his career. 

"His message was, again, that we all make mistakes and we all can do things that don't work out, but what determines the course of our lives is what we do next." 

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